Archives For Brent Pittman

Jr. League Football

NFL draftees have been dreaming about this day since they were young. Credit Amherst Patriots.

An Open Letter to the NFL Class of 2013:

You made it! Years of hard work, sweat, dedication, sacrifice, and determination has put you where you’ve dreamed about being since you were little boy playing backyard football–a member of the NFL.

You are now part of an elite club of super athletes that garners the attention, admiration, and money of the world.

Children and old men alike will up to you for hope, entertainment, and inspiration. You are now a modern day gladiator whose every decision on an off the field will be scrutinized under a microscope.

This is a pressure cooker that requires not only character and skill, but wisdom to handle your new NFL career.

A Bit of Life Wisdom for NFL Class of 2013

If any of the 255 members of NFL class of 2013 read this I’ll be shocked, but if you are reading I believe this advice could help you along the way.

1. You Are a Role Model- Don’t become confused along the way as your once common place name becomes a household name.

Don’t say that you didn’t ask to be role model as an excuse to make poor decisions.

In reality you’ve been a role model for years as you’ve lead your team(s) to championships and victories.

You ARE a role model for young and old alike–especially for those whose city you now wear on the back of your jersey.

2. Be a Real Man- You are one of the fastest and strongest guys in the world. But are you a real man?

A real man respects others: teammates, women, and even opponents. A real man respects himself and avoids addictive behavior.

A real man has faith that is deeply personal and attractive to others.

A real man admits his mistakes and asks for help when he’s headed in the wrong direction.

3. Give More Than You Take- This might be common place for many of you draftees, but for others you’ve been struggling for so long that you’ve lost the art of giving.

Give.

Give to the community. Give to your teammates. Give to the world.

Give not only your money, but your time, energy, and emotions to causes bigger than yourself.

4. Marry Well- Find a woman who doesn’t just want you for money or fame. Find a wife who will inspire you to be a better man.

This decision on whom to marry is the second biggest decision of your life. Don’t take it lightly.

Financial Wisdom for NFL Draftees

Not only do you get to play a sport you love, but you are paid–and paid well. It’s a bit like winning the lottery.

This financial incentive comes with its own set of rewards and responsibility–a lesson that 78% of your NFL predecessors have failed at learning.

Below are 8 nuggets of financial wisdom that would make this incoming NFL class the most financially successful class to date.

1. Save Your Signing Bonus- Yes, I said save. Don’t touch it. If you need to take a small amount to live off of until you receive your first check, then do that–but save the rest.

This signing bonus isn’t mad money to blow. It is your beginning retirement fund.

2. Retirement is one Tackle Away- The average NFL career last between 3-6 years depending on whose stats you use. This ride won’t last forever, so financially plan on this.

Make a plan early in your career on what you’ll do after the NFL and how you’ll fund that dream.

3. Make a Budget- This might seem silly since you’re making more money than you ever dreamed, but a budget will help you reach your goals–you’ll just have more 0’s on the end of your numbers than the average joe.

4. Learn How Money Works- Chances are you’re like most Americans haven’t a clue how money works. Take a class on finances like FPU, read books about finances, and learn for yourself.

5. Find a Financial Mentor- You need someone to give it to you straight. Someone who won’t stand to profit from your financial investments. I’d use someone like Chis Hogan if I had the chance.

6. Handle Your Business- Know what is happening with your money. Don’t trust some family member selling insurance for advice, nor trust your brother in law to handle your assets.

Have a monthly profit and loss statement that is reviewed by yourself, along with your tax professional and other trusted financial advisors.

7. Run Away From Schemers and Fast Money- You are now on the hit list for scammers, financial quacks, and people with ideas on how to make fast money.

Chances are if someone approaches you with an investment idea–they are scam artists or mislead at best. Seek out your own financial advisors and shut those out who seek you first.

8. Avoid Debt- This is true for all of us, but you now have the ability to qualify for Jumbo Home Loans which could lead to serious problems if your career ends. Flee from debt and investments that enslave you to debt.

Final Thoughts to the NFL Class of 2013

I hope at least 1 of the 255 draftees find this, or maybe one of their relatives. These pearls of wisdom will help ensure that your years of hard work won’t end up in bankruptcy and heartache.

If you’re not one of the 255 ESPN NFL Draft picks, what advice do you have for future NFL players? 

Feet at the ocean

Can you live stress free?

Stress is a part of our everyday lives. Stress causes us to react out of fear to preserve our lives. We don’t have sabertooth tigers chasing us anymore, but the stress mechanism remains.

Long term stress can cause serious health problems: heart disease, sleep problems, digestive problems, depression, obesity, memory impairment, and I’m sure others that haven’t been discovered yet.

If you’re like me, money has be one the top stressors in my life. I’ve learned to reduce financial stress and hope I can help reduce yours too.

Causes of Financial Stress

1) Lack of Income- Not having enough income is frustrating. Being laid off or not able to find a job that pays the bills is frustrating. I’ve been there.

Finding a part-time job while you are searching for full time employment might be a short term solution. Ultimately you’ll need to find something you love doing that pays the bills. These books have helped me with career questions and finding work I love: No More Dreaded Mondays and The $100 Startup.

2) Debt- Debt weighs you down and causes stress, especially when bills keep coming in. Bill collectors only add to your stress level.

Find a plan to deal with your debt will reduce your stress. I’ve seen it happen with friends and clients.

3) Wind in the air budgeting- Determining the wind direction with a wet finger isn’t an accurate method, yet many budget their money with this method. Ditch the best guess method and learn how to budget like a pro.

4) “It’s all up to me.” mentality- Believing that your financial future is all up to you can cause stress. Don’t get me wrong I am a strong advocate of personal responsibility and hard work–I do however recognize there is a spiritual aspect to money and life.

I’ve found that trusting God with my finances and the future has relieved much stress in my life. This is a daily practice and a perspective I have to remind myself of when I feel stress creeping in.

Dealing With Stress

The effects of stress are not enjoyable and our relationships will suffer. Coping with stress and stress management are short term solutions At some point you’ll need to deal with the root causes of stress.

If you need financial help, consult an counselor and/or clergy member to discuss the root causes and find solutions. If I can help, contact me directly with your questions.

Let’s reduce our financial stress and move towards financial peace.

Dealing With Stress

Photo Credit programwitch

Does money stress you out? How do you deal with these financial pressures? 

Photo Credit HRC

Keep a Secret

Shh… American Airlines has a secret program for expired miles. Credit Daniela Vladimirova

Do American Airlines miles expire? Yes, If you have no qualifying activity in an 18 month period those miles are toast.

BUT I can show you how to restore those “lost” miles on the cheap with a secret program.

My wife and I racked a good number of AA miles flying from California to visit family and also flying around the world when we were single.

Due to Southwest’s Bags Fly Free program and generally cheaper prices we’ve stopped flying American Airlines and our accounts became inactive.

Thanks to my wife’s persistence we learned about one of their secrets. (Side tip: Marry a frugal spouse!)

They have a secret program code named the American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge that can’t be found on their website.

American Airlines Re-engagement Challenge

You’ll have to actually call their hot-line and talk to a real live person. (1-800-882-8880)

Explain the situation of your lost miles and ask if there is any way to revive those miles. If they aren’t helpful ask about their Reengagement Challenge.

They might be shocked that you are such a knowledgeable insider–just don’t tell them where you heard about it or they might come after me and my AA miles. :-)

ReEngagement Challenge Details: How Does it Work?

Simple really. I’ll share the bullet points. If you want to see the details click Reengage AA Miles.

  • Agree to sign up for two email lists for the length of your re-engagement challenge without unsubscribing.
  • Pay $30 over the phone.
  • Fly on 1 round trip flight on American Airlines, British Airways, Iberia, or Japan Airlines within 6 months OR
  • Earn 5,000-7,000 base partner miles to revive up to 50,000-75,000 expired miles. (This seems tricky since many programs for earning are exempted from the Re-Engagement Challenge)
  • To restore 75,000+ miles you’ll need to fly on 2 round trip flights in 6 months or earn 10,000 base partner miles.

If you have enough miles to redeem American Airlines miles for a free ticket (12.5 one way for EconomyMileSAAver program, 25K miles for round trip), AND have a plan for earning the miles–Only then you should consider coughing up the $30 for the Re-Engagement Challenge. 

We both have near the 25K needed for a free flight and an upcoming AA flight will push us over the ledge, so we choose to pay $60 total to reactivate both accounts.

On a side note we learned one way to keep your AA miles active is to donate 1,000 miles to one of their active nonprofit listed on their site every year.

Have your American Airlines miles expired? Will you start the Re-Engagement Challenge to revive those expired miles? 

Tax Day Funny

Happy Tax Day! Credit brianjmatis

Happy Tax Day! Wait you remembered to file your taxes for 2012 right?! You have until tonight to file your taxes or file an extension for 2012. [Tax Deadlines for 2013]

At the second I write this, we’re waiting to hear back from our tax professional if we need to file an extension or if we’re in the clear. Update: We ended up filing an extension for the first time ever since we didn’t get our tax guy the papers till Friday.

In our defense we are still living in suitcases and boxes while we remodel our new place.

I thought I’d share some cool Tax Day Resources if you’re still getting crazy with your calculator and Turbo Tax.

Tax Day Free Stuff

Free Paper Shredding and Copying at Office Depot on Tax Day- Thanks Living on the Cheap for making us aware!

The Penny Pinchin’ Mom has a good list too for tax day deals too, along with list from Huffington Post.

Coupon for tax relief Arby’s Fries

Tax Day Resources

What Happens if I Don’t Pay My Taxes? 

What Happens if You Miss the Tax Deadline + How to File a Tax Extension

15 Ways to Spend a Tax Refund Traditional and Non-Traditional Ideas

Why Getting a Large Tax Refund is Bad

Oops! I Made a Mistake on My Tax Return, but I Already Filed. Now What? 

How are you feeling on Tax Day 2013? 

Constanza wallet

Is it time to clean out your Costanza Wallet? Credit shareski

I’ve been a fan of the trifold wallet since I started carrying one back as a wee lad.

The trifold is nothing special, it’s just what I grew up and what is comfortable to me…that is until it becomes so fat that I can’t have it in my pocket.

“This is an organizer, a secretary, and a friend.”- George Costanza


That makes me begin to wonder: What is in my wallet? In homage of Spring Cleaning. It’s time to clean out the ole’ wallet. For you voyeurs, this should be fun.

A Catalogue of What’s in My Wallet

I have to make this wallet thinner. I’ll put a Trash to those items I’m taking out.

Inside the folds

  • $40 in mostly one dollar bills that I have saved for garage sale season.
  • $1.26 left over for money to spend on my wife. (We budget cash to spend on each other each money)
  • My new address listed on sticky note.

Left Fold

  • ING relic debit card that will soon be replaced I’m sure [RIP ING Direct…].
  • XX bank debit card
  • Insurance card
  • Best Buy Rewards Card Trash
  • REI Member Card
  • Safeway Club card Trash
  • Old insurance card Trash
  • Costco Card- I can trash this when our membership expires.

Middle Fold

  • Drivers License
  • Picture of my wife
  • Picture of my son as baby
  • Stash of old receipts
  • 4 OTC business cards

Right Fold

  • Starbucks Gold card–yes I like coffee.
  • Business Debit card
  • Old McDonald’s Gift Card Trash
  • Panera Bread card
  • HSA debit card
  • AAA card

What’s missing?

  • Current insurance card-doh!
  • My lunch money, mad money, and couples spending money for the new month. Time to check YNAB to see how much to withdraw.

Sorry, nothing too exciting or revealing. I was able to ditch a few items, but most are essentials.

I’ll need to investigate an app that stores my reward card numbers. Any suggestions?

Now it’s your turn to Spring Clean your wallet or pocketbook.

What’s in your wallet? What could/should you take out. 

Helpful Articles on Cleaning Your Wallet